Barnes School History

The School Magazine which started a new lease of life in 1956
under the title, The Barnicle, a short form of Barnes Chronicle, is evidence of this fresh zest.
The early sixties saw the reshaping and enlarging of the
old ‘Duck’s Pond’ into a swimming pool to be really proud of. Out of the one-seventy-foot length, often muddy and for half the year and more empty during the dry weather, was made a safe, shallow pool for the smallest children and a senior pool, 25 metres long, and 4-1/2 ft. deep throughout for serious swimming and racing. At the downstream end, a ten-foot deep pool was
excavated exclusively for diving with 1, 2 and 3 metre boards. The rough, unkempt, banks of the ‘Duck’s Pond’ were terraced and planted with trees and flower beds. To feed the pool, a well was dug on the north side and an electric pump installed so that there would always be fresh water. Finally we built dressing-rooms.

The new pool was opened in 1962 by Mr. N. Ferguson, the Chairman
of the School Managing Committee. Three other amenities sprang up in this period; the School Shop, the Library and the senior boys’ recreation room. What used to be originally the boys’ bathing room at the west end of Evans Hall, though not used for many years, was converted into the School Shop incorporating the separate and smaller tuck shops for boys and girls which had so devotedly been managed by Members of Staff. Not only tuck was now available but everything from exercise books to football boots. A School Library had always been in existence but it was only under the Rev. E. Goodman, a trained Librarian before being ordained, that it was fittingly housed, arranged and catalogued. The British Council helped with a magnificent gift of Rs. 5,000’s worth of new books. Similarly, there had always been recreation rooms for the children but it was Mr. Mac Innis who showed what could really be made of them, by his development of the senior boys’ room. The equivalent of two classrooms on the ground floor of Spence Block formed the shell. Gradually, by the boys’ own efforts, chairs, tables, couches, a radio, record player, games and magazines were added. The whole was kept spotless and as polished as a new pin. On the outbreak of hostilities with the Chinese in 1962 and again with Pakistan in 1965, Barnes, in company with the rest of India, contributed to the Prime Minister’s Defence Fund, made food parcels and provided comforts for the troops on the northern borders and the wounded, some of whom were sent to the Military Hospital in Devlali. Another landmark.

In 1963, we passed the six hundred mark in our total of
students. The next year we went on furlough, contacting Besians wherever we went. That means everyone with connections with the B.E.S. schools – the old Byculla School, Christ Church, and Barnes. In India, the Besians are for the present not very active but that they were is evidenced by the annual Besian Prizes awarded to the best scholars in the top classes.

A generous upgrading of staff salaries with corresponding increases in pay for all grades of workers came into force from April, 1966. Concurrently both boarding and tuition fees were raised. The annual budget hit between five and six lakhs, in 1934, of under one lakh. Many of the buildings were reroofed at a cost of half a lakh. It was becoming clearer that a major overhaul of the electric wiring and of the sanitary fittings throughout the school would soon have to be undertaken.

From January, 1967, a Bursar was appointed to control the business side of the school. Mr. Coles was asked to prepare a scheme for extending the accommodation to take 200 more boarders, bringing the maximum to 600. Without much more copious supply of water, that was not feasible in my opinion. Instead, a less ambitious plan was adopted to take up to 480. This meant increasing the size of the dining-hall, rearranging the kitchen and storerooms. Each of the sixteen dormitories, originally planned, very lavishly, to hold twenty-five now quite comfortably took thirty. Bathrooms attached to the dormitories were furnished with more showers, wash-basins and commodes. At the end of 1967, in addition to the old school bus, then fourteen years old, a new Standard Herald car was bought.

Just before the monsoon of 1968 all the school roads were tar-macadamised. So the months slipped by consumed with planning for a new era. Our studies improved culminating in the record success of the I.S.C.E. classes of 1968. Our numbers grew, our discipline was steady and the general tone as good as it had ever been. More and more was spent on feeding.

Above all else were the children for whom Barnes exists and around whom the staff, the planning, everything revolves. Generations of them have passed through and the wonder still holds “ Awkward cubs they were when first they came to school. Then they grew in stature, strong they grew in mind. Till came the time for parting when onward they would go as men to face he world!’

God be with them all.